- Tesla has received support from the U.S. in a lawsuit against a direct sales ban in Louisiana.
- The DOJ notified the court that the judge in the Tesla case misinterpreted antitrust laws in her earlier dismissal order.
Tesla continues to fight Louisiana for the right to sell its cars directly in the state. Currently, residents of the state are forced to leave the state to buy or service their cars, but the company is looking to change that. An earlier court case was decided against Tesla, but the manufacturer disagreed with the decision and immediately filed an appeal.
It has now been revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is backing one of Tesla's legal arguments in its lawsuit, which alleges that car dealers and others in Louisiana conspired to limit competition by banning direct sales of cars in the state. Tesla is suing the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association, members of the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission, and a group of dealers.
The Justice Department on Thursday filed a friend of the court brief to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court judge in Tesla's case misinterpreted antitrust law in its ruling dismissing the case, according to Reuters. The government's statement echoes Tesla's statement, which said U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance erroneously ruled that the company was required to show that members of Louisiana's motor vehicle commission had intent to curb market competition. The DOJ emphasized that it does not support Tesla or its opponents and has no opinion on the “proper disposition” of the appeal.
The Justice Department and lawyers for Tesla said U.S. civil antitrust law does not require a showing of intent. Adding that requirement would “improperly” restrict antitrust law, Justice Department lawyers told the appeals court.
In her ruling against Tesla, Vance said the state's direct sales ban “applied to all vehicle manufacturers and that Tesla has alleged no facts regarding the anti-Tesla animus on the part of the Louisiana Legislature.”
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.